Deshpande Foundation Covid-19 crisis efforts

Yugma - Collabrating to socially distance Covid-19

Second wave of Covid-19 led to unprecedented challenges to the public health system in Hubli-Dharwad, Karnataka. This book documents the successful covid relief initiatives by Deshpande Foundation in partnership with Dharwad District Administration with an aim to save lives.

Deshpande Foundation continues its support to the District Administration in combating the second wave of Covid-19

Understanding the critical situation in the country due to the covid-19 pandemic and the challenges faced by the government with respect to its health care system, Deshpande Foundation has identified the need gap and has come forward again as in 2020 to support the District Administration through its areas of strength such as technology, operations, infrastructure, human resource etc. The foundation strongly believes that the support initiatives and pandemic relief efforts could make a difference in battling through the covid-19 situation in the district of Dharwad.

In the first week of May 2021, Deshpande Foundation provided 300 cots and beds to the Dharwad District Hospital and Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) in Hubballi. Deshpande Skilling Centre hostel infrastructure has been provided as a quarantine facility which can accommodate a maximum of 750 patients at any given period. The volunteers of the foundation are also providing the hygiene kit to the daily wagers and vagabonds. The foundation is also assisting the District Administration as capacity builders and knowledge partners as per the exigencies.

The foundation’s covid-19 task force is working round the clock with the District Administration and it is committed to provide not just the immediate covid-19 relief requirements but also additional support that may be required for Hubballi-Dharwad in the coming days.

Deshpande Foundation harnesses resources to support Covid-19 crisis efforts

Deshpande Foundation harnesses resources to support Covid-19 crisis efforts

In a few short weeks, the advent of the Covid-19 virus has changed the world dramatically. Who would have imagined the striking changes that have happened in such a short time? Around the globe countries have curbed activities, closed establishments and imposed stay at home policies. Many activities have been cancelled or postponed. The foundation too has gone virtual and is repurposing its efforts to address the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. We would like to highlight some of the ongoing work in the following articles.

The Deshpande Foundation salutes all the frontline workers and volunteers who are working day and night to protect people and curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus. We hope you stay safe and healthy.

Vivek Pawar
CEO, Deshpande Foundation

Deshpande Foundation work with local authorities

Deshpande Foundation work with local authorities

The Deshpande Foundation in India held productive discussions with local administrative authorities including the District Commissioner, the Police Commissioner, Zilla Panchayat CEO, Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation Commissioner, and the District Health officer about harnessing the resources of the Foundation to support their efforts in managing the Covid-19 crisis. The discussions led to several positive outcomes to support the Covid-19 efforts which are listed on this page.

Deshpande Foundation Startups build and hand over Covid-19 tracking dashboard to local administration

Deshpande Foundation Startups build and hand over Covid-19 tracking dashboard to local administration

As a result of discussions with local authorities, the Deshpande Foundation identified several data related challenges in tracking and monitoring Covid-19 cases as they get identified. Working closely with the District Commissioner, Deepa Cholan, Hubballi Dharwad Municipal Corporation Commissioner Suresh Itnal and BRTS DGM Ganesh Rathod and their teams, the foundation harnessed the help of two Deshpande Startup companies, LinkEZ and DocketRun to develop a tracking solution. Within 48 hours, the two companies working closely with the Smart Cities team built a robust dashboard that provides real time information on Covid cases, location of hot spots and helps identify if facilities are available to accommodate new cases.

Deshpande Foundation delivers 5,000 face masks to Zilla Parishad offices

Deshpande Foundation delivers 15,000 face masks to Zilla Parishad offices made by Navodyami micro-entrepreneurs

The Deshpande Foundation has taken the initiative to reduce the spread of Covid-19 by providing the best quality “Safe Masks”. Harnessing the efforts of over 50 women micro-entrepreneurs that are part of the Foundation’s Navodyami micro-entrepreneurship program, it was able to produce over 15,000 masks that were delivered to the local Zilla Parishad’s office. The masks were made to the highest standards using 100% cotton cloth with triple layer design to increase protection. The masks meet durability and washing standards as per WHO. They are tested with the standard candle blow test to ensure no particle penetration. The masks donated to the Zilla Parishad will be distributed to Municipal Corporation, Police and other frontline institutions. In addition, masks are being made for donors and individuals also. While the masks are being donated to organizations, the masks provide a sustainable livelihood for the women micro-entrepreneurs.

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Deshpande Startups worked with one of its startup to make 1000+ face shields

Deshpande Startups creates 2000 face shields for front line workers

Utilizing its 3D printing expertise and resources, Deshpande Startups member created over 2000 face shields that can be used to protect frontline workers who are exposed to potential Covid carriers from any inadvertent virus spraying on their face. The Foundation presented over 1000 face shields to the Hubballi Police and other frontline workers.

Deshpande staff work in communities to distribute food

Deshpande staff work in communities to distribute food, increase Covid awareness

With hundreds of staff spread across Hubballi and over 300 staff in rural regions, the Foundation is well positioned to help augment Covid related efforts. The staff have been actively engaged in a number of activities including increasing Covid awareness via social media, curbing fake news in their communities, educating people on the Arogya Setu app, food and grocery distribution and volunteering with different organizations.

Deshpande Foundation partners with ACT Grants who are funding startups

Deshpande Foundation partners with ACT Grants, providing financial aid to startups working on Covid-19 solutions

The Indian startup & VC community were able to quickly commit to a Rs 100 crore fund, ACT Grants, that would be distributed as grants to ideas that could combat Covid-19 with immediate impact. Deshpande Startups has partnered with ACT Grants as an implementing partner. ACT Grants have funded over 27 startups in 6 categories. You can learn more at

Deshpande Foundation partners with Boonbox to deliver essential

Deshpande Startup’s Boonbox and Freshboxx help deliver essentials in city and rural areas

A major problem during the Covid lockdown was people going out to buy essential items and food and violating the social distancing norms. The Foundation partnered with Boonbox, an established e-commerce company with deep penetration into rural India. Working together with Boonbox, the combined resources of Deshpande Startups and the Deshpande Foundation Agriculture, Micro-entrepreneurship and Skilling teams helped provide supplies in rural areas. This was especially important in rural areas which struggle to find essentials. In addition, Freshboxx, another Deshpande Startup, used its resources to distribute groceries and vegetables within Hubballi-Dharwad. The robust partnership with local authorities helped to arrange for the necessary passes to ensure smooth deliveries.

Dr Abhay Jere holds online session with Deshpande Foundation founder

Dr. Abhay Jere holds online session with Deshpande Foundation founder

Deshpande Foundation founder Dr. Gururaj ‘Desh’ Deshpande was invited to participate in and online Leadership Talk hosted by Dr. Abhay Jere, Chief Innovation Officer, Ministry of HRD, Govt of India and National Coordinator-Project 'Manav'-Human Atlas Initiative. In wide ranging conversation with Dr. Jere, Desh encouraged students to take advantage of the current Covid crisis to look for opportunities to make a difference. With the time available, they should look to become problem solvers and come up with new ideas. The talk was well received with nearly 10,000 views online. You can hear the entire conversation

Deshpande Startups working on AI solution to monitor CCTVs during lockdown

Deshpande Startups working on AI solution to monitor CCTVs during lockdown

With over 300 CCTVs installed in the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad by local administration, monitoring the cameras to ensure that people are maintaining social distance and that vehicles are authorized to be on the road becomes difficult. Currently the camera feeds are monitored by staff round the clock at a War Room setup at the BRTS site. To help reduce the burden on the staff, the Foundation has been working with couple of Deshpande Startups to develop an AI-based Social Distancing Surveillance Systems. The system will scan the video feeds and automatically flag instances where social distancing norms are being violated, it has built-in speaker to play recorded messages and provides live updates to the control room. Another startup is working on a solution that will read number plates and determine if the vehicle has been pre-approved. A demo system has been built and work on the solution is ongoing.